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Reintroducing Rhino: An innovative model for community-based rhino conservation in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Guest Speaker: Mark “Butch” Butcher, Founder of Community Rhino Conservation Initiative
Wednesday, March 1 at 12:00pm
Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom
This event is open to the public at no cost. Zoo admission not included.
500 miles and 17 hours across Zimbabwe, this is the epic tale of a years-long effort and a historic cross-country road trip to reintroduce white rhino to Hwange National Park. But while most rhino conservation successes throughout Africa are on private land, the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative represents a massive paradigm shift, placing rhino on communal land bordering Hwange with local communities as their custodians. This community-based rhino conservation model ensures both rhino conservation and socio-economic development within the communities. Mark Butcher, managing director/lead guide of Imvelo Safari Lodges and the founder of the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative, will discuss the unique challenges and the exciting future of this innovative model for rhino conservation.
A fifth-generation African, Mark “Butch” Butcher’s passion for wildlife conservation began early when he became a ranger for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, primarily in Hwange National Park and Mana Pools. After graduating from South Africa’s Rhodes University with a degree in zoology and botany, Butch joined the Forestry Commission as Provincial Wildlife Officer, patrolling and protecting a huge area of Hwange’s indigenous forest and its remarkable wildlife. Butch holds the highly coveted Zimbabwe Professional Guide's License and won Guardian Travel’s prestigious Ethical award for 2014.
Deeply committed to wildlife conservation and the surrounding communities, Butch has been at the forefront of the most innovative conservation programs in the country, involving local communities in protecting wildlife and ensuring that they benefit from tourism. This includes his most ambitious conservation program yet, the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative, which reintroduces white rhino onto communal land bordering Hwange with local communities as their custodians.